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Soul food vs. Blues Driver vs. Tube Screamer

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by superjam144, Jun 27, 2020.

Best OD Pedal




  4. OTHER

  1. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

    Mar 6, 2009
    I use a BD2 mostly but I've taken to contrasting/stacking it with an SD1. With the Marshall they sound incredible together.
    I use a VHT Special 6 at home but I don't use a drive pedal with it any more, I prefer an eq pedal; that way I can shape the amp's drive to taste.
    Don't laugh but I use my tubecreamer copy with the mandolin and bouzouki. The mid hump smooths out those harsh trebles you get from piezo pickups.
  2. braveheart

    braveheart Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 15, 2018
    here,there and everywhere
    I have that one,too (and the other three)...and it's a good pedal,pretty versatile...but doesn't smoke any of the three...
  3. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 19, 2020
    Well guys thanks for the input. It seems that they are all winners, and there are many more to explore as well. I guess I was fearful that the blues driver was looked down upon in some way, but it seems it is very well respected.

    Grateful for such a great pedal market to be a guitar player in. Seems the only pedal that they haven't made yet is a japanese shamisen pedal, which I believe would be a million dollar idea if they made it. I would buy it instantly.
  4. SbS

    SbS Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    May 29, 2020
    I've only owned Tube Screamers, TS-7 and TS-5. So not the mythical real deal (808/9), played some versions though.

    I always liked my TS-7 and with hot-selection it's possible to get some more heat from it. Although, never like found THE sweet spot. Tried together with TS-5 too, but nah..

    Now I acquired Electro-Harmonix Crayon. It took few hours to get used to it and gather courage to turn knobs all the way up and down and in between, before got it going. Crayon also responded to the wah pedal better than TS imo. But the real fun started, when first time nailed the idea to stack overdrives.

    In TS-7 I had just a tad of drive and level was set around 2 o'clock. Then let the Crayon take care of gain part. Man it started to sing, so happy!

    First impression about Crayon wasn't very positive, but I used it wrong way. Everything in 12 o'clock sounded actually quite poor and plastic at start (with my gear).

    So I guess, many times it's not about single miracolous pedal. But things around it too, conditions, gear, proper setup, position in signal chain. Then, sometimes good things happen.

    Crayon lifted my TS-7 and wah on another level.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
    cdwillis likes this.
  5. PBO Blues

    PBO Blues Tele-Holic

    Jan 15, 2016
    Chatham County, NC
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
    nathanteal likes this.
  6. j5jarod777

    j5jarod777 Tele-Meister

    Mar 7, 2012
    Most people that talk negatively about a tube screamer are home players like myself. A tube screamer shines through an amp that is cooking and not at volumes where you here your pick hitting the strings.
    joe_cpwe, nathanteal and PBO Blues like this.
  7. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    There are now so many different OD pedals, and some work better or worse with some amps, some guitars, some music styles, and also obviously the environment/volume you're playing at.

    I don't like the BD-2 in stock form, as it's IMO too much of everything - too much bass to be much of anything other than a home or studio pedal, unless you keep the gain low, which kind of defeats the purpose. It also gets too bright and too buzzy for my personal tastes, for where the gain level starts to get interesting.

    It seems that the vast majority of folks who are happy with a TS or TS-like pedal tend to use them with Fender or Fender-like amps that are scooped in the mids, and turned up fairly loud.

    Personally, I can't get a klone to really work how I need it to. I have a BYOC Silver Pony, and it's just too polite, or too smooth for my liking.

    We're now at a point where you can get an OD that will have what you like about older or more traditional pedals, but have improvements for the things you don't care for. I prefer more bass than a TS has, but not as much as something like the BD-2 (stock) or Nobels ODR-1 has. I like some of the attributes of a Rat (I love the tone circuit in it), just sort of re-realized to be more like an actual OD.

    I typically play either BF/SF Fender amps on the clean side, or amps that stay clean and are kind of scooped in the mids like those Fenders are. I also tend to play on the loud side, or at least I'm not much of a living room or bedroom player (by choice). I rely on getting my overdriven sound from pedals instead of being at the mercy of the amp sounding good accidentally at whatever volume I need to play at.

    ...I'm also probably just a bit less picky about tone than some players who insist that nothing rivals tube amp OD. I do believe that many guitar amps seem to simply sound better at higher volumes, but that's been my personal conclusion.

    But honestly - there's so many different OD pedals to now choose from. Unless it's an aggravation or you can't find cool stuff within your budget, I'd just prefer to experiment with different ones. Although well-intentioned, most people's suggestions or conclusions will probably not really be helpful.
    AngelStrummer likes this.
  8. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

    Jun 10, 2003
    White Mountains
    Sparkle Drive, the original one.
    Those were pretty cool.
  9. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Aug 27, 2019
    Hanover, PA
    I haven't owned a Blues Driver yet. TS style pedals for me weren't different enough from the modded Boss SD-1 I have that was my number 1 go to for a long time. I've used a Soul Food as well for a long time, those are both great pedals but each one works better for different applications/guitars/amps. I've since bought a nicer Klon clone that has unseated my Soul Food as my main OD pedal.
  10. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

    May 16, 2009
    I’d use them all completely differently. But if I had to choose one it’d be the Blues Driver.

    Blues Driver - main drive sound, low gain

    TS - Boosting the front end of another drive for solos

    Soul Food - Actually much prefer other klones, but in general I like klones after drives as boosts.
  11. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 27, 2017
    WI, USA
    At home I don't use pedals much at all. A Tube Screamer is always on my live board.

    I own two TS-9s, a TS-10, and a TS-7. The TS-7 mostly sucks and I should get rid of it. I bought used and cheap a while back to as a possible stand-in for the others. It's a no-go.

    Never tried the Soul Food or BD. I have thought about trying them...but why?

    I mostly prefer to use an amp's distortion or my Tonelab for primary drive tones so I'm not much of a pedal tone chaser. Futile hobby IMO
  12. John E

    John E Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Best is relative. I have not tried the Soul food so can't comment. BD-2 is my fave all time OD because it's transparent except to add some high end and overall clarity/brightness, so really I have had success using it with any rig. It also has a pleasing (to my ear) gain structure.
    Tube screamer I was never a fan of at all initially because it has a very pronounced mid range... until I used it live with a Fender 5e7 clone (and my teles). Then it's usefulness becomes very apparent, adding girth to a somewhat scooped sound. Really allows you to change where you sit in the mix, especially when soloing. Sounds like kaka (to me) when used with a middly setup (i.e. HBs and a Marshall or tweed). Definitely a useful pedal in certain situations though. My fave all time gain pedal is a BD-2 though for the reasons I mentioned.
  13. Wobbles

    Wobbles Tele-Meister

    May 17, 2015
    Snowlake Arizona
    Boss BD2 has been a favorite of mine for years. Recently discovered Keeley Fat Mod, my new favorite. I don't care for the honky midrange bump.
  14. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2017
    All of them sound honky if you use them wrong, with the blues driver/blues breaker type pedals being the least honky if you're using it wrong.

    IME the Klon circuit will actually sound the worst if "using it wrong" unless you use it just as a clean boost.

    Tube screamer will do the honk as well but at least in my rig there are a few more ways to set things up that don't honk as bad.

    If it's honking the amp isn't cooking enough. Particularly the Klon to my ears sounds horrible on a totally clean amp (at least my amp) but it sounds pretty darn amazing if the amp is seriously cooking. Same thing with the tube screamer.

    I have a Bluesbreaker (Morning Glory) + a Tube Screamer. I go back and forth on which I prefer. In general I think the Tube screamer ends up winning for me though. The Morning Glory starts sounding muddy as the amp starts cooking more.

    I can get my amp cooking at low enough volumes (power scaling) that the amp alone always will sound better if the amp is dirty than I can get with the amp clean + an overdrive.
  15. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 25, 2003
    Santa Barbara, California
    I agree with 11 Gauge's post. One thought-- if shopping for a Blues Driver it is probably worth considering the OD-3 as an alternative. For many years I stacked an SD1 into an OD3 and liked the three options it gave me-- SD1 alone, OD3 alone, and both turned on.

    However, recently I switched out the OD3 for a MI Audio Super Crunch Box v2. The MI box is pretty amazing in its own right, and I'm digging it a lot right now, but who knows, maybe some day I'll go back to the OD3. The MI Box is a very refined Marshall in a Box pedal-- yielding convincing Plexi to JCM800 tones, IMO. So it has a definite Marshall flavor as opposed to being an "overdrive".

    I also use a RAT once in awhile, as well as a Soul Food. I tend to keep those just sitting around handy with a battery in them for when I just want to plug in a single dirt box and not bother with the pedalboard.

    I also think anyone considering an 808 should take a look at the SD1 as an alternative.
    cdwillis likes this.
  16. seanmarshall9

    seanmarshall9 TDPRI Member

    May 13, 2015
    I keep both a Fulldrive2 (TS-style) and a BD2-W on my board. BD2 as a more amp like light gain, FD2 as that mid push, with a boost that takes it almost to fuzz territory. Nice to have both available to me.

    Klons are too brittle for me. Just me tho, a mostly Fender style player.
  17. gridlock

    gridlock Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 1, 2011
    Tampa, Fl
    I’ve never owned a Soul Food, I’ll pick up a used one someday. I’ve owned at least three Blues Drivers, never bonded with them. Also, as mentioned above, the Fulldrive-2 is a really good pedal and another one I should have kept.

    I’ve owned most Tubescreamers (808, TS9, and others) but the only one that I’ve kept is my handwired TS808. It seems warmer and smoother sounding than others I’ve owned.

    I voted handwired Tubescreamer.

    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  18. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

    May 12, 2013
    Fort Worth, Texas
    On my current rig, Blues Driver BD-2.
    On a Super Reverb or similar, Tube Screamer
    On no amp I have ever owned. Soul Food
  19. b2187101

    b2187101 Tele-Meister

    Mar 24, 2008
    I bought a Soul Food when it first came out and it was my most used pedal. Later, I bought an EHX East River Drive (a screamer clone if I am right) and now I never use the Soul Food. Just my 2 cents.
  20. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

    Jun 19, 2009
    Nashville TN

    The Boss BD-2 is an original design and owes nothing to the Marshall Blues Breaker pedal. Completely different critters. Having said that, a Blues Breaker v1 might be an excellent choice for you. Chicago Stompworks makes a good copy for around $50. I'll also echo the comments on the Boss SD-1. Great pedal! Put it on the list.
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